When we talk about Microphone feedback, we refer to a type of audio feedback that takes place between a microphone ( that acts as an audio input) and an audio output ( mostly a loudspeaker or monitor). One may refer to it as a positive loop gain where the mic signal is amplified and passed through the loudspeaker. The loudspeaker then picks the sound by the mic and amplifies it further.
This loop takes place until the mic channel overloads. This further becomes the reason for the loudspeaker all in one pa speaker system emitting a terrible squealing noise
Microphone feedback is always undesirable. One may not come across a single scenario where mic feedback is welcomed. The sound of microphone feedback can be described as a shrill, squealing, screeching, distorted tone. Its tone typically occurs at a specific frequency or specific frequencies. The feedback might occur at a very low hum or a high-pitched screech. Below listed are the factors that determine the frequency of microphone feedback-
- The resonance frequency of the microphone, amplifier and loudspeaker
- Room’s size
- Acoustic material of the room
- The polar pattern of the microphone
- Emission pattern of the loudspeaker
- Distance between the loudspeaker and microphone
Here are a few ways to reduce or eliminate microphone feedback when using a portable DJ speaker-
- Do not place the microphone in front of the loudspeaker– Positioning a microphone in front of the PA or sound system loudspeaker can lead to microphone feedback. Whenever you set up your microphone and loudspeakers, consider their positions and the directions in which they point to reduce microphone feedback.
- Point the directional microphones away from Monitors– Foldback monitors are loudspeakers that present a direct contradiction to the previous point. They are positioned on stage and point towards the performers.
- Reduce the microphone Gain and Volume- Simply turning down the microphone gain or volume of the mic channel in the audio mixer can help you in eliminating feedback with the mic.
- Don’t cup the microphone– If you are a vocalist, then this tip can be helpful to you. By cupping the microphone, we mean that you can wrap your hands around the top of the mic. Not only does this look cool, but also turns the directional live vocal music into an omnidirectional mic. An omnidirectional mic is more sensitive to sound from all directions, which is why it is more prone to feedback. And this technique of cupping your microphone won’t help you in avoiding mic feedback.
- Use Equaliser to ring out the Mic/room- Ringing out or EQing the room is a method used by musicians to minimise microphone feedback by equalising the sound system. This technique helps in filtering the room’s resonant frequencies out of the sound system mix. The filtration of frequencies leads to a reduction in effects that standing waves have on the microphone feedback- thus allowing more gain and volume.
- Make use of the In-ear monitors– Switch to an alternative to foldback monitors with in-ear monitors- special headphones that fit inside the performer’s ears. When you remove the foldback monitors from the stage, the noise gets effectively reduced and gain before feedback is improved.
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